Saturday, February 2, 2013

Our Journey to Selah

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog entry - this parenthood thing tends to take up a lot of our time. 

Selah Day Kerwin entered the world with a bang- - or shall I say with a 3.9 earthquake.  You heard correct, about one hour before her birth an earthquake whose epicenter was right next to our hospital struck.  Yet, this seemed inconsequential compared to the miraculous drama unfolding before us.

The Birth
I started having small contractions on Sunday, September 3rd and into Monday the 4th.  Luckily, I had my weekly exam scheduled with Dr. Solky that day.  I was informed that I was 1 cm dilated and about 20% effaced.  The contractions were very small at this point and felt pretty similar to period cramps and so I was totally fine.  That night I went to bed and the contractions got a bit worse and kept me awake but they were totally manageable.  During the day of the 4th, the contractions lessened and I even made it out to Starbucks to do some last bit of journaling and to savor what I knew would be my last few precious moments/days as just "Ang".  Russ took me out to dinner that night to for a little pre-birthday celebration (my bday is the 5th) and I'm glad he did because on the 5th, I wasn't really in the mood for being out and about.  We celebrated my birthday with some frozen pizza and I was happy to take my Dr's advice to drink some wine in hopes of relaxing enough to get some sleep. 

We went to bed around 1:00 am, but the contractions were bigger than the wine by this point.  By 3:30 am I woke up Russ because the contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and around 30-60 seconds in length. I felt like they were painful (little did I know ;).  We labored together for the next few hours, Russ drawing me baths and rubbing my back.  Around 7:30 am we texted our doula, Joni, who informed us that the contractions should be consistently 2-3 minutes apart and at least 45-60 seconds before heading to the hospital especially since we were hoping to avoid interventions.  Around 10:00 am Joni arrived at our place where we labored for a little while but by this point, Russ and I were ready to head to the hospital.  Joni suggested that we meet at the Beverly Center (a mall that is across the street from Cedars Sinai Medical Center), because she felt we still weren't ready to check into the hospital just yet but understood our desire to get closer to the hospital. We walked around the mall for the next 4+ hours and it was intense. The contractions felt very very strong by this point and were almost paralyzing.

Enduring a contraction at the Beverly Center
At 3:30 pm we headed over to my Dr.'s office, which is located in one of the towers of the hospital.  Despite the painful contractions, Joni wanted to keep my expectations in check and told us that we should only expect 2-3 cm by this point.  I didn't know how it was possible to go through the past three days of labor and especially the past 15 hours of intense labor for only 2-3 measly cm!  I started crying with joy when Dr. Solky informed us that I was 5-6 cm and that I should check into the hospital and told me to expect an early evening baby.
Checking into Cedars Sinai Medical Center at 4pm

With this encouraging news and a much needed boost to our morale, we checked into the hospital and anxiously waited to see how our little lady was planning her entrance into the world.  We labored for 4 more hours and the pain was absolutely incredible by this point.  At 8:00 pm I was 8 cm dilated and Dr. Solky recommended I have my water broke.  I told her I'd push through for a couple more hours but by 9:30 pm I was still only 8 cm dilated.  The pain continued to intensify and despite the amazing support of Russ and Joni, my psyche and body were on the verge of breaking.  I had been up for three nights and had been in very active labor for the past 36 hours and was beginning to question my ability to go on.  Just then, my mom and sister walked in and I burst into tears.  There is nothing quite like a mother's love at the moment in which I was to become a mother.

Pure Joy for Daddy

Teamwork at its finest
I decided to have my water broke at this point in hopes of moving the labor along.  But, if I thought I was in pain before - - this was at least ten times as great and there was very little time between the contractions to catch my breath and refocus.  After about an hour, and reaching a point where I was absolutely incapable of dealing with the pain, Joni said, "Angela, we have to look at why you have chosen not to do an epidural.  It is one thing to not want any interventions but you are absolutely suffering and you should reconsider your options".  I needed this, I was stubborn and exhausted and I needed someone to give me "permission" to reevaluate my decision to not do the epidural.  After careful consideration, I knew that getting the epidural was the only option I could choose.  It was a very emotional moment for me because I felt like I was letting Russ and myself down.  Russ assured me that he supported whatever I decided.
The epidural was literally like getting a new lease on life!  The pain was instantly gone and I was a completely different person -- I was relaxed and present, focused on what we were about to do - - welcome our baby girl into the world.
Within the hour, I had completely dilated and the nurse called Dr. Solky to tell her to make her way to the hospital so that she could deliver our baby.  This was great news, especially because my biggest fear was that the epidural might lead to pitocin, which may lead to a c-section.  I was also comforted by the fact that the epidural medication stays only within the spinal area and does not affect the baby.
As we waited for Dr. Solky, the lights were dimmed and everyone left the room except for Russ and I.  We tried to take a little nap but then an earthquake hit and frankly, I couldn't sleep anyways knowing that we were about to become parents. 

Welcome to the World Selah Day Kerwin!
Dr. Solky arrived and we began pushing around 1:00 am.  After 40 minutes of focused pushing, we joyfully welcomed our Selah.   It was a surreal moment, one we will treasure and hold sacred forever.  We chose Selah's name because of it's beauty and use in the Psalms.  Many scholars have debated what Selah means but overall it means: A pause, a moment to reflect (on what was just said), a "musical" way of saying Amen.
Hi Everyone!

Our Sweet Baby Girl

We had a tough time getting pregnant but I now know that Gods timing is perfect and His plan is flawless and that He truly is the giver and taker of life.  We feel so blessed that His face shined on us and His will was for us to become parents.  It was a long and sometimes emotional road but Selah was worth the wait.